The authorities’ reaction did not drag on, the day after the demonstration of hundreds of Civil Protection agents in the streets of Algiers on Sunday, May 2. 230 agents have been suspended for breaking the law. This march was violently blocked by the police as it made its way to the presidential palace.“They hit us and used tear gas. We didn’t do anything. We didn’t break anything.”, testified a firefighter in a video broadcast on the internet.
– Observ’Algerie (@ObservAlgerie) May 2, 2021
The Algerian government has therefore chosen confrontation, while since mid-April, wage demands agitate fire brigades of all wilayas (prefectures). As early as Sunday, May 2, the Interior Ministry issued a statement calling it“illegal” the march of the firefighters and evoked “a plot against the country”. Firefighters, like police officers, are bound by a duty of reserve, and can neither strike nor demonstrate. But the sanctions do not end there, the agents will also be prosecuted.
The dialectic employed by the Ministry of the Interior is also indicative of the tension that reigns. In a press release, the ministry asks the firefighters to stop their movement “fed by parties serving agendas hostile to Algeria”.
Same story with the Directorate General of Civil Protection, urging all officers “to show discipline and a high sense of responsibility, and not to give in to subversive publications aimed at sowing confusion and chaos and undermining the stability of the homeland.”
Here then is the Algerian power confronted with a new front, while the social protest widens in the public service: education, tax administration, railroads and health. A new call to demonstrate was also launched for May 9 in Algiers, in response to the press release. “lie” of the ministry.
Because the movement of firefighters is above all social.
The firefighters complain of a derisory base salary set at 15,000 dinars, while the guaranteed minimum wage in Algeria is 20,000 dinars (around 125 euros). The index point has not been raised for years, and working hours regularly reach 80 hours per week denounce the firefighters.
The Directorate General of Civil Protection assured that these claims had been raised and “that a commission look into their examination”. An attempt to calm the spirits while on Twitter some dream of seeing the firefighters join the Hirak movement.
I believe that the Firefighters will have to join the Hirak, and demonstrate with their outfit, because the Hirak encompasses their demands, it is no longer a question of salary or social benefits the fate of Algeria is currently being played out and the union is the solution .
– madjid ben (@ madjidben6028) May 2, 2021